Space pioneer Leroy Gordon Cooper who died in 2004 believed in the existence of aliens traveling from other habitable places to Earth. Not only did he believe in extraterrestrials, but he also claimed that he personally encountered UFOs and other unexplained phenomena while flying a fighter jet in Germany in the early 1950s.
Cooper was one of seven astronauts on Project Mercury, the first human space program to land a man on the moon before the Soviet Union. He traveled into space as part of the Mercury-Atlas 9 manned mission, which took place in 1963. Then in 1965 he set a new space endurance record by traveling 3.3 million miles aboard Gemini 5 to prove that astronauts could survive in space on a trip to the Moon and back to Earth.
He left NASA in 1970 and spent the rest of his life studying unidentified flying objects. Cooper believed in UFOs even before he entered the space programs. After his encounter with UFOs in Germany he became an obstinate supporter of the hypothesis of the existence of a civilization beyond Earth.
Cooper said in an interview that he saw a UFO for the first time in his life in the early 1950s when he was stationed at Landstuhl Air Force Base in West Germany. He said that during that time Russian MiG-15s often flew over his base. Then one time he was flying at 15,000 meters and he saw strange vehicles flying in formation much higher and faster than his aircraft. He claimed they were disk-shaped with a metal casing.
“They were flying pretty high how high we couldn’t tell because we couldn’t get close to their altitude, but they were very big or small craft still way above what we can get.”
In 1957 when Cooper served as a test pilot at Edwards Air Force Base in California he saw a flying saucer with a diameter of about 10 meters that hovered nearby and landed in the dry lake. He said: “I had a film crew filming the installation when they saw a disc. They filmed it as it flew through the sky, then hovered, extended three legs like a landing gear, and slowly descended to land on a dry lake bed.”
“And they took their cameras and started filming as they walked. And when they got really close he got up, put the gear back on the wheel, tilted it and took off at great speed. So they came to my office and told me what happened,” Cooper said.
After that Cooper sent the recordings to Washington and presented a report of the UFO encounter. “After a while a high-ranking official said that when the film was developed I should put it in a bag and send it to Washington and I don’t know if anyone has seen it since. He didn’t say anything about me not seeing the movie. That’s what I did when he got back from the lab and it was all there, just as the film crew reported.” The disk was similar to the one he found in 1951.
“Basically the same vehicle, they were double-disk lenticulars. If you’re going to get in and out of atmospheres like the earth or other places you certainly need a slightly more aerodynamic type of vehicle. And the disc has the ability to traverse the air at tremendous rates of speed and handle bow and breakout wave without causing shock waves. So it can be very quiet as it travels at high rates of speed through the atmosphere.”
Cooper also believed in the crash of an alien spacecraft in Roswell, New Mexico in 1947 and the military found several aliens at the crash site. “I had a good friend in Roswell, a fellow officer. He had to be careful what he said. But it certainly wasn’t a weather balloon, like the Air Force cover story. He made it clear to me that what crashed was a spacecraft of alien origin and the crew members were recovered.”
In one of his interviews Cooper has repeatedly argued that the aliens who visit our planet on research missions are far more technically advanced than humans. The astronaut believed that the UN should carefully record all UFO reports and was also confident that the governments of different countries were hiding data about extraterrestrial life.
Astronaut Gordon Cooper addressing UN panel discussion on UFOs and ETs, 1985: (Source)
“I believe that these extraterrestrial vehicles and their crews are visiting this planet from other planets, which are a little more technically advanced than we are on Earth. I feel that we need to have a coordinated, high-level program to scientifically collect and analyze data from across the Earth on any type of encounter and determine how best to interfere with these visitors in a friendly manner.”
We may first have to show them that we have learned how to solve our problems through peaceful means rather than war, before we are accepted as fully qualified universal team members. Your acceptance will have tremendous possibilities to advance our world in all areas. Certainly then it seems that the UN has an interest in dealing with the matter quickly and properly.
I must point out that I am not an experienced professional UFO researcher – I have not yet had the privilege of piloting a UFO or meeting the crew of one. However, I feel that I am somewhat qualified to discuss them, as I have been on the fringes of the vast areas through which they travel. In addition, I had occasion in 1951 to have two days of observation of many flights of them of different sizes flying in fighter formation, generally from west to east over Europe. They were at a higher altitude than we could reach with our jet fighters…
If the UN agrees to take this project forward and give it credibility, perhaps many more well-qualified people will agree to step forward and provide help and information.”
In 2007 NLSI acting director David Morrison released a statement where he denied all claims made by Gordon Cooper about UFOs and alien life. He said: “Sorry, but there is no convincing evidence of space aliens, and certainly not NASA astronauts.”
Cooper was not the only person who believed in the existence of aliens and UFOs. Edgar Mitchell and Helen Sharman are two renowned astronauts who also believe in alien life beyond Earth.
According to Mitchell, aliens have come into contact with people several times and UFOs have been visiting our planet for a long time. “It was well covered up by all of our governments for the last 60 years but it slowly leaked out and some of us were privileged to have been told about some of it.”
On the other hand, Helen Sharman said: “Aliens exist there are no two ways to do it”. She began her space career in 1989 when she went through a difficult selection among other astronauts and confirmed her abilities, entering one of the first joint projects in the UK and USSR. She added that aliens may not be like humans, although it is possible that they are here living with humans, but invisible to us.